As the developer, owner, landlord or management company of an apartment community or rental home, you know that providing a safe premises that is up to code is not only the right thing to do for your tenants, is required by law for your business. In Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb Counties and throughout Georgia, code enforcement officials and fire marshals can and will cite buildings for code violations, meaning that in addition to costly repairs, you are facing civil penalties and potentially hefty fines. Violation notices can result in serious fines and repair bills and require careful response. There are often differences of opinion between building officials and rental owners as to meaning, reach, and scope of property maintenance codes.
At the Atlanta law firm of Fowler, Hein, Cheatwood & Williams, P.A., we partner with our clients — owners, managers and landlords — to help them ensure compliance and improve building safety. We review the state and local building codes to help you assess where you are and where there may be deficiencies in areas from handrails and smoke detectors to accessibility issues under the Fair Housing Act or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
In Georgia, mandatory codes that apply to apartment complexes include:
In addition to the fines and the bad press that may go along with more severe code violations, building safety issues may lead to injuries — and the attendant premises liability lawsuits. Poor building maintenance is often cited as the reason for "trip and fall" or "slip and fall" accidents. Lack of adequate lighting in a parking area may lead to negligent security litigation. And, failure to deal with mold and lead paint issues become toxic tort lawsuits. A violation of a safety regulation can form the basis for negligence claims that result in serious liability.
As your attorneys, we are prepared to defend you against personal injury and premises liability lawsuits by tenants and visitors to your apartment complex — and have a track record of success in doing so.
Fowler, Hein, Cheatwood & Williams, P.A. is an AV-rated law firm that has provided legal solutions to our apartment industry clients since 1988. For more information regarding our practice in the area of code enforcement and building safety, please contact us online or call us at 404.633.5114.